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©giz2012 Introduction to I. Human Potential This Guidebook is written by people in the Africa and Middle East North Africa (MENA) regions – for peo- ple in these regions and elsewhere in the water sector. Our intent is to unlock the potential of people and or- ganizations – our definition of Capacity Development. II. Welcome to the Journey Every day – all over the world – people ask themselves what it takes for organizations to consistently and ef- fectively provide goods and services to their custom- ers. This is especially true when it comes to organiza- tions that provide water services. Three things are for sure: 1. Every person on this planet needs water every day and each of us gets it in some way – although it is easier for some than it is for others. 2. Quality water is essential for public health and the health of the environment. In some places, water quality is better than in other places. Poor quality water that makes people sick, or harms the environ- ment prevents people – and countries – from pros- pering. 3. The challenge of providing reliable water services grows every day as more and more people join us on this planet. How shall we meet these challenges and face these re- alities? There are so many answers – financial, tech- nical, managerial, political and social. It is probably fair to say that we have often depended too heavily on technical solutions and infrastructure. We are starting to understand that this is not enough. No one solu- tion will make everything work well. The ways in which we manage water sectors or water utilities are a part of the solution – and the skills and motivation of people can make the difference between success and failure. This IMPACT Guidebook is a contribution to the body of knowledge of how to establish, improve and maintain effective organizations – especially those in the water sector. In a lot of places, people have what they need to do a good job but nothing changes. Why? Perhaps they do not know how to proceed. But this is a barrier than can be overcome with a little initiative and the belief that you can do it. And then, all you have to do is to “start the journey”. Additional Exercises & Resources A lot of chapters in the Guidebook refer to exercises and resources. These files are available for free from the web- site This place offers as well the e-Book versions of the Guidebook. In the section «Continous Improvement», you’ll find cor- rections and amendments made after the publication of the printed edition plus other additions, up-to-date case studies and comments from other readers. You are welcome to join us! “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”[1]